GWS Graduation / Participation / Ceremony


CONGRATULATIONS!! You are on your way to becoming a UC Berkeley Alumni!! This will be a proud moment and the Gender and Women’s Studies Department is committed to making sure it’s the ultimate experience for you and your family!! Now here’s how you can guarantee an easy exit and a great celebration!

Degree List IMPORTANT!!! Commencement and graduation are two entirely separate events! Commencement is a ceremony, a celebration for you and your family of the completion of your college years. Participating in commencement does not guarantee that you have graduated. Graduation is the process by which you receive a Bachelor of Science (or Arts) degree at the completion of your studies at Berkeley. When you are ready to graduate and officially receive your bachelor’s degree, you must declare your candidacy. This will be the last time you “declare” at Berkeley!! This is known as “putting yourself on the degree list.” For further information on receiving your degree, contact the College of Letters and Science.

Degree Check To make sure you have completed all of your university, college, and major requirements, you should also do a degree check via CalCentral or visit an L&S adviser in 206 Evans.

Major Check You should also double check with the GWS Undergraduate Adviser about your progress in the major. To certify that you have completed the major requirements, you should meet with the GWS Undergraduate Adviser in 608 Social Sciences Building.

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The Gender and Women’s Department plans a spring commencement ceremony each academic year. A graduation committee is formed at the beginning of fall semester, and the ceremony is organized in conjunction with our graduating seniors. If you are interested in serving on the committee, please contact the department’s Undergraduate Adviser. The committee emails graduation updates regularly to student’s official UC Berkeley email address keeping them abreast of commencement information; i.e. commencement theme, keynote speaker, graduation fundraiser, etc.

Hopefully, the following information will be helpful to you and ensure that we can all enjoy a stress free ceremony. Remember to also check the website for last minute changes!


You must sign up for the Gender and Women’s Studies Commencement ceremony using your Berkeley account. 

Invitations & Tickets

Each graduate is entitled to 6 free invitations/tickets and can pick up their packet in the GWS Main Office (608 Social Science Building).  Extra tickets can also be purchased in the Office. 

Cap & Gown Rental

Caps and gowns are not an option! We get such a kick out of seeing you in those darling black gowns that we made it mandatory. The lovely ensemble will be available for purchase at the Cal Student Store in the Graduation Department starting in March. Contact the store at 510-642-9000 x681 if you have further questions.

Student Speaker

We know we have some of the most brilliant minds on campus and we look forward every year to our student speaker. So if you are interested in delivering the Undergraduate Address at commencement, please submit a synopsis of your speech between April 1st and April 25th to the Undergraduate Adviser in 608 Social Sciences Building and the faculty will select the speaker from the brilliant proposals submitted.

Honor Chords

Students completing their honors program in Gender and Women’s Studies will receive an honors cord courtesy of the department at the commencement ceremony.

REHEARSAL–Nope, not any!

Exit Survey

All GWS graduating students are being asked to complete an exit survey before you bid us farewell. We would really appreciate your taking the time to complete the survey.

University-Wide Spring and Fall Convocations

Students who complete their degree in the fall may choose to attend the December Convocation in place of, or in addition to the Spring GWS Department Commencement. There is also spring convocation for those who complete their degree requirements in the spring.

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The Gender and Women’s Commencement Ceremony is a wonderful celebration of a student’s career at UC Berkeley. We take pride in organizing and creating an outstanding and memorable event. Here’s some information for the day of the ceremony.

Arrival Doors open and guest seating will begin at 3:30pm. Graduates should arrive at the venue by at least 3:30pm. At 4pm all participating students must be ready to start the procession.


Immediately following the ceremony there will be a reception.

MLK Student Union Directions and Parking

Driving Directions
Campus Map


Public parking near the MLK Student Union can be found at the following lots

  • MLK Student Union Garage (under construction. Not currently available)
  • Lower Hearst Garage
  • Berkeley Way Lot

More detailed infomation about each of these lots can be found on the Parking and Transportation section of the UC Berkeley website

Directions from BART

  1. Exit Bart Station onto Shattuck Ave
  2. Walk South on Shattuck three blocks to Bancroft Way
  3. Turn left on Bancroft and go up the hill along the south edge of campus–passing by the following streets on the right: Fulton and Ellsworth
  4. Continue on Bancroft to Telegraph. Mlk building is located on your left and you will also see the Cal Student Store which is located in the MLK Building
  5. The Pauley Ballroom is located upstairs on the second floor above the Cal Student Store.

General Information 

Area hotels fill up quickly in May. If you have family or friends coming to your ceremony from out of town, suggest that they make reservations immediately. For information about local accommodations, restaurants, and things to do in Berkeley, refer to the Berkeley Convention and Visitors Bureau and the UCB Visitors Center.[/tab]

Now that the ceremony is over and you are part of the UC Berkeley alumni, you have a host of resources available to you on campus. You may need to request certain documents, find direction with your career path or information about alumni benefits. We have provided the following information for you to help create a smooth transition after graduation.

Diplomas, Transcripts, and Degree Verification

The ceremonial scroll you receive at Commencement is not a diploma, since degrees take several months to process. Diplomas are available approximately 4-5 months after each graduation date. Keep your address, telephone number and e-mail current on for at least 4 months after leaving Cal, should the university need to contact you about the processing of your degree. Bearfacts is open to record a diploma mailing address for students on that semester’s degree list. If an address is not supplied, the diploma will be mailed to the permanent home address. Questions can be addressed to the Diploma Office at 510-642-4814.

Your official transcript will show your final grades three to four weeks after the last day of final exams. The date of your degree will appear on your transcript approximately three months after the term in which the degree was conferred. You can check your unofficial transcript on Bearfacts three to four months after your last semester to make sure you did graduate! Information about the availability of transcripts showing the degree and how to order transcripts and diplomas may be found at

If you need proof that you have completed all of your requirements for the degree before your final transcript is available, you can obtain a Certificate of Completion from the Registrar’s Office. This service is only available starting one month after the end of the term (approximately early July). Forms for this may be downloaded from and mailed to 120 Sproul Hall, UCB, Berkeley, CA 94720-5404, Attn: Records, or faxed to 510-643-9201. Certificates of Completion will be issued within approximately two weeks.

If you need proof that you have completed all of your degree requirements before early July, a request for an Early Dean’s report may be made by contacting the Letters and Science Evaluation Unit at 510-642-7391.

Securing your Berkeley Email Account After Graduation

The alumni email service is a free service provided for all alumni. Graduates will be able to claim and keep the same exact bConnected account they have been using as a student, so that includes their email inbox as well as their Google suite (Drive, Calendar, etc.). To do this, AFTER graduating, students need to visit, log in with their CalNet ID and passphrase, click the link that says Claim your account, and accept the terms and conditions there. That’s all there is to it.

Graduates have a 9 month grace period after leaving campus to claim their accounts and continuing using their Berkeley address.


The Career Center prepares freshmen through PhDs and recent alumni to make informed decisions about their futures by providing resources, events, and counseling on career development, internships, employment, and graduate school.

2021 Spring GWS Commencement video

2021 Marching Orders Virtual Ceremony:

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